Truly awful events in our lives have a tendency to leave their mark. There’s a good chance you’ll be hanging on to some traumatic experiences after time has closed the wound. Writing about these events gives you a chance to properly digest how you feel about things so you can move forward.
Photo by Alan Levine
Talking about your experience with someone you trust is helpful when you’ve gone through difficult events, but Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries at Harvard Business Review explains that writing does something no other form of communication can:
Healing depends on your interpretation of what happened, which is where the process of writing up the experience rather than only talking about it can be of great additional value. The combination of reflective writing and talking about certain key experiences creates a powerful force to help us surmount difficulties and can hasten our capacity to come to terms with (or to digest) events and move on.
Writing, along with talking about the event in question, can help you ultimately see how you feel and what you’ve processed. The same way journalling allows you to take an inventory of your day, this can give you an inventory of how you see the past. Keep in mind, however, that writing about traumatic events can trigger some distress, so it might not be an ideal option right after the event has occurred. So, if you think you’re ready to move forward, spend a little time writing about what happened. You may be able to move past leftover feelings of anger, sadness, or fear in the process.
To Get Over Something, Write About It [Harvard Business Review]